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Chapter: Biology of Disease: Disorders of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Pancreas, Liver and Gall Bladder

Disorders of the Large Intestine

Ulcerative colitis is characterized by chronic inflammation and ulceration of the colon that is distinctive, in that it affects only its mucosal lining.

DISORDERS OF THE LARGE INTESTINE

Ulcerative colitis is characterized by chronic inflammation and ulceration of the colon that is distinctive, in that it affects only its mucosal lining. The lining is also affected by numerous hemorrhagic ulcerations. The cause of ulcerative colitis is not entirely clear but is believed to be autoimmune in origin. Patients with ulcerative colitis suffer from abdominal pain, fever, weightloss and bloody diarrhea. Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is made following colonoscopy where a biopsy from the colon is taken to detect the character-istic histological changes. Ulcerative colitis is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as 5-aminosalicylic acid, although surgical removal of the affected region may be necessary in severe cases.


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